What is sexualized violence?

UVic defines sexualized violence as “any non-consensual, unwanted, actual, attempted, or threatened act or behavior that is carried out through sexual means or by targeting a person’s sex, sexual identity, or gender identity or expression.”

What forms it takes

Sexualized violence can take many forms and may or may not involve direct physical contact. This means that sexualized violence can occur verbally, physically, or online. Sexualized violence includes, but is not limited to:

  • sexual assault
  • sexual exploitation
  • sexual harassment
  • stalking
  • indecent exposure
  • voyeurism
  • distribution of sexually explicit images without the consent of the people involved

In addition, sexualized violence may also include unwanted sexualized attention including things like:

  • catcalls
  • sexist remarks or jokes
  • transphobic remarks
  • leering
  • persistent and/or aggressive come-ons

Attitudes and beliefs

Sexualized violence often begins with harmful attitudes and beliefs that are sexist, racist, homophobic, ageist and abelist in nature. Preventing sexualized violence requires that we address multiple intersecting forms of discrimination and oppression at the same time. This means sexualized violence prevention needs a broader, community-wide effort to address discrimination and harassment in all its forms. Visit the Equity and Human Rights website for information education and initiatives.


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